Idioms – see

By admin 14 comments

Remember that when we say ‘I see’ we can mean ‘with my eyes’ but we can also mean ‘I understand’.

  • I’m not very happy with your decision.
  • I see. Is there anything I can do to persuade you?

If you don’t understand the reason for doing something, you ‘can’t see the point’.

  • I can’t see the point in studying for this exam. I’ll just fail anyway.
  • He refuses to come to the meeting. He said he couldn’t see the point.

If you communicate some information with no possible doubt, you ‘make yourself clear’.

  • I thought I had made myself clear. I need the report by lunchtime.
  • I couldn’t have made myself clearer. Everybody understood.

If you try to understand how a different person sees a situation, you try to see it from their ‘point of view’.

  • Try to see this from my point of view. I must have delivery by Friday or my production line will close down.
  • We must ask everyone concerned for their point of view before we decide.

If you are aware of all the facts behind a decision, you take it with your ‘eyes wide open’.

  • There’s no use complaining now. We took that decision with our eyes wide open.
  • Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards. (Benjamin Franklin)

If you persuade somebody to change their mind and agree with your point of view, they ‘see reason’.

  • He argued and argued but finally he saw reason.
  • The workers asked for a 20% pay rise but finally they saw reason and accepted 3%.

If you are obsessed with yourself and your own problems, you ‘can’t see past the end of your nose’.

  • She’s so self-obsessed. She can’t see past the end of her nose.
  • It must have been obvious that I couldn’t cope but he couldn’t see past the end of his nose and didn’t offer to help.

If you are unaware of a problem, you need to ‘open your eyes’.

  • Open your eyes. Nobody here likes you.
  • He’s too self-satisfied. He needs to open his eyes and take a good look at himself.

If somebody is pretending to be what they are not and you are aware of this, you have ‘seen through them’.

  • He claimed to have worked in Tokyo but I saw through him the minute we started talking about Japan.
  • Most people see through his lies pretty quickly.

If you find out some information that really surprises you and change the way you feel, it is an ‘eye-opener’.

  • I thought he was a good salesperson but seeing him with a customer was a real eye-opener. He was useless.
  • I thought I knew a lot about it but talking to Jenny was a real eye-opener. I learned so much.

When you look back on an event ‘in hindsight’, you can often learn from it.

  • In hindsight, I wouldn’t have started the negotiation so aggressively.
  • I should have done things differently in hindsight.

Some racehorses wear ‘blinkers’ on their eyes to stop them from looking around and make them concentrate on the racetrack in front of them. When people don’t consider all the possibilities, they are said to be ‘blinkered’.

  • They’re a bunch of blinkered old men and won’t consider any new ideas.
  • He never listens to anybody else. He’s blinkered.

When you are told or read something which enables you to understand something you didn’t previously understand, you ‘get the picture’.

  • Thanks for telling me that. I get the picture
  • So he’s the boss’s son? I get the picture. I wondered how someone so young was doing that job.

If you understand what somebody is explaining to you, you ‘see what they mean’.

  • OK. I see what you mean. There’s no need to say any more.
  • He was trying to explain something to me but I just didn’t see what he meant.

If there was a misunderstanding and it is now all explained, you ‘cleared it up’.

  • I’m glad we’ve cleared up the misunderstanding about payment terms.
  • We need to clear up this misunderstanding at once.

exercise 1
exercise 2
exercise 3
exercise 4
exercise 5



Jul 7, 2011, 5:12 pm

Can we use this lesson, and teach it to students, or is this under your copywright?

Abdelhafid DIB

Jul 7, 2011, 7:05 pm

First of all, I like to thank you a lot for your helpfull lessons. I appreciate it very much.
I am grateful to let you know that I was a student in english in 1980 at Bleshington Park School in Oxfordshire. I currently hold a teaching job at the University of Algiers in Politics.

Best regards


Jul 7, 2011, 10:30 pm

Dear Brown
I want to thank you very much.Your idioms were very useful to me.I wish you to be happy in your life,hopping to receive new emails from you.
Good bye

coney cartujano

Jul 7, 2011, 5:55 am

so helpfull this lesson for me..thanks and more power

Victor Count

Jul 7, 2011, 6:03 am

Thanks a lot indeed for the set of SEE idioms. They will be very instrumental for me!

Virak ( Cambodia )

Jul 7, 2011, 3:51 am

Thanks so much for your information it really useful for my study I see right now!!!!!!!!


Jul 7, 2011, 6:33 pm

The idioms are a great fun for me.

Thank you very much Teacher.


Jul 7, 2011, 12:05 am

It may seem queer, but I was a teacher of English for 35 years and also a painter. That’s why my website is the one of a painter.Now I teach seniors as a hobby, because I also love ypur language. Of course these idioms are golden, because I’m not living in UK therefore not in touch with the language every day. I found trhis article so amusing specially for someone like you that can’t see too well. All my best wishes, Isaura

Tran Ha

Jul 7, 2011, 4:26 am

Thanks so much for your lessons. They are so useful for me. My English is improved a lot.


Jul 7, 2011, 2:28 am

Very easy to understand. I love this material. Thanks a lot


Jul 7, 2011, 5:31 am

Very easy to understand. I love this material. Thanks a lot


Aug 8, 2011, 12:16 pm

tahnks a lot GOD bless you ,your lessons are very helpfull.I hopr to receive more and more


Aug 8, 2011, 3:00 pm

Wonderful explanations of the idioms and good exercises to remember them. Thank you!


Dec 12, 2012, 8:25 pm

Thanks so much for your information it really useful.

Comments are closed.